loan and lure of money Arrested while trying to collect ransom, lead police to body

A 20-year-old student of Thakur College in Kandivali was allegedly lured from his Mira Road residence and murdered at Naigaon by two of his friends on Monday morning in a case that bears similarities to the Adnan Patrwala murder in August 2007 (see box).

A few hours after the murder, Kalpesh Saroj (25) and Ravindra Kumar Yadav (25) — vegetable vendors from Boisar — allegedly called up the victim’s father and demanded Rs 8 lakh. They were arrested from Kandivali on Tuesday night when they went to collect the ransom. On Wednesday morning, the duo led the police to Ganesh Ramchandra Shriram’s body, which had been dumped near the Naigaon creek.

Shriram — whose father is a civil contractor at the Tarapur Atomic Power Station — was a second-year B Com student of Thakur College of Science and Commerce in Kandivali (East).

His parents and a younger sibling live at Jyotikunj building in Boisar. Police said since Shriram found it difficult to travel to college from Boisar daily, he had on weekdays started living alone at a flat in Mira Road his father bought.

The police said Shriram’s father Ramchandra was aware that his son had been spending time with the duo. In their statements, the two accused said they knew that Shriram was from a reasonably well-off family and his father had purchased a flat in Mira Road. Saroj allegedly told the police that he had borrowed Rs 1 lakh from Shiram’s father a month ago, which he was unable to return.

Additional Superintendent of Police (Vasai) Sangramsinh Nishandar said to make quick money and return the loan, Saroj decided to kidnap and kill Shriram and roped in Yadav.

On Monday, the two accused allegedly called up Shriram and told him that they had some work in Mira Road and would meet him in the evening. The three met near Shriram’s house, following which the two accused allegedly talked him into going to Boisar with them. They set out for Virar, where they were supposed to switch trains. However, instead of Virar, they got off at Naigaon, where the two accused allegedly killed Shriram and disposed of his body near the Naigaon creek.

A few hours after the murder, Saroj allegedly called up Ramchandra and told him that his son had been kidnapped and demanded Rs 8 lakh for his release. A shocked Ramchandra negotiated with the kidnapper and a deal was struck at Rs 3 lakh.

On Monday night, Ramchandra registered a complaint with the Kashimira police against Saroj. The police formed a 15-member team and tried to track him down at his house and shop.

Nishandar said they tapped Ramchandra’s phone to locate the caller. “To drop off the cash, Saroj called Ramchandra to Bandra but changed the location to Andheri and then Borivali. During one call, he even demanded that the money be thrown from a train near Kandivali,” said Nishandar.

“We followed the directions and finally on Tuesday night, when Ramchandra was told by the duo to hand over the money near the Kandivali rail bridge, we laid a trap and arrested them,” he said.

During questioning, the duo allegedly confessed that they had murdered Shriram fearing he would reveal their identity to the police. “We have arrested the accused under Sections 302 (murder) and 364 A (kidnapping for ransom) of the Indian Penal Code,” said Nishandar.

“At 3.30 am on Wednesday, the accused led us to the spot at the Naigaon creek and we recovered the body that was hidden in the mangrove bushes,” said Inspector Anil Patil from Kashimira police station. The accused were produced before the Thane Sessions Court on Wednesday and they were remanded in police custody till August 19.